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Outstanding Oxcars: Bemidji, area theater companies hold annual awards show in Walker

Pictured in the front row from left to right are Robert Saxton, Cate Belleveau, Mary Knox Johnson, Kathi Diehl, Fred Rogers and Sasha Demoret - Almendinger. In the back row are Jess Mix, Mary Anderson, Jesse Whiting, Norwood Hall and Kyrsta Sanders. Submitted photo.1 / 4
“Mary 4, Martha 3 - NO Footnotes” tells the story of the four women in Ernest Hemingway’s life. Pictured from left to right are Katie Carter playing Martha Gellhorn; Cynthia Booth playing Hadley Richardson; Cate Belleveau playing Pauline Pfeiffer and Kitty Ballard-Ryan playing Mary Welsh Hemingway. “Mary 4, Martha 3 - NO Footnotes” won an Oxcar for Best Original Work and Best Ensemble. (Maggi Stivers | Bemidji Pioneer)2 / 4
BCT's production of “Mary Poppins: The Broadway Musical" received several Oxcars awards including Set Design, Best Director Musical, Best Actor Female and Best Actor Male. 3 / 4
Pictured from left to right are Mikaela Westhoff, Paul Conklin, Hannah Rogers and Mary Anderson in the Bemidji Community Theater production of “Enchanted Sleeping Beauty.” The production won several Oxcars awards including Set Design, Costumes, Best Director Musical and Best Actor Female, Musical. (Maggi Stivers | Bemidji Pioneer)4 / 4

WALKER—Growing in popularity each year, the fourth annual Oxcars celebration for area theater excellence were held this past Sunday, March 12.

Because of the celebratory nature of the Oxcars awards, there is no pre-determined number of awards or pre-existing categories. The awards vary from year to year.

Oxcarsʼ committee member volunteers use criteria, adopted from the Hennepin Theater Trust's Spotlight program, to look for excellence in theater work from November to November each year in the Bemidji area.

Participating northern Minnesota theaters include Northern Light Opera of Park Rapids, Minnesota Folklore Theater, of Walker, Exciting Play Society of Bemidji, Mask and Rose Women's Theater Collective of Puposky and Bemidji Community Theater of Bemidji .

Here's a look at this year's list of Oxcars award winners:

• Set Design: Mary Knox Johnson and Dwayne Johnson for "Mary Poppins" and "Enchanted Sleeping Beauty"

• Choreography: Karen Palmen for "Annie Get Your Gun"

• Costumes: Mary Knox Johnson for "Enchanted Sleeping Beauty"

• Best Director, Comedy: Fred Rogers for "Steel Magnolias"

• Best Actress, Comedy: Sasha Demoret-Almendinger for "Bedroom Farce"

• Best Actor, Comedy: Norwood Hall for "Bedroom Farce"

• Best Director, Drama: Jessie Whiting for "Pillowman"

• Best Actor Male, Drama: Jessie Whiting for "Pillowman"

• Best Actor Female, Drama: Krysta Sanders for "Steel Magnolias"

• Best Original Work: Cate Belleveau for "Mary 4, Martha 3, No Footnotes"

• Best Supporting Actor: Jesse Mix for "Pillowman"

• Best Supporting Actress: Kathi Diehl for "Steel Magnolias"

• Best Musical Director: Paul Dove for "Annie Get Your Gun"

• Best Director, Musical: Mary Knox Johnson for "Mary Poppins" and "Enchanted Sleeping Beauty"

• Best Ensemble: The cast of "Mary 4, Martha 3, No Footnotes"

• Best Actor Female, Musical: Mary Anderson for "Evilina" and "Mary Poppins"

• Best Actor Male, Musical: Robert Saxton for "Mary Poppins"

• Best Up and Coming Youth: Faith Kern for "Annie Get Your Gun"

• Lifetime Achievement Award: Fred Rogers